Four wheel driving is filled with fun and adventure, but it’s important to start slow and work yourself up to the big tracks. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five easy 4WD tracks for beginners near Sydney to get you started.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Whether you’ve just bought your first 4WD or normally use it as your daily drive but want to test out its capabilities, you’re in for a wild ride. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of jumping in your 4WD and heading out to tracks AWDs only dream of driving on. Off-roading is fun, messy, and a true blue adventure.

However, it does come with some risks. If you don’t drive safely and within the limits of your rig, you can get bogged or worse, flip your car on its side or its head. Yes, it happens! That’s why it’s super important to start off slow and confidently tackle beginner tracks before you move on to the hard stuff.

Read more: The Best 4WD Accessible Campsites in NSW

 

 

NSW is the land of plenty, and there are certainly plenty of 4WD tracks around Sydney to get your heart racing and your fuel light blinking (if you know, you know). To help you out, we’ve rounded up five easy 4WD tracks for beginners near Sydney. Before we get to that, please read some important info that’ll help prepare you for a safe drive.

4WD Tips for Beginners (and all 4WD enthusiasts)

4WDing is incredibly fun, but it does come with risks if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are some 4WD safety tips for beginners;

Sounds obvious, but if you own an AWD (all wheel drive), don’t attempt to access 4WD tracks. It’s only going to end badly for you. Read about the difference here

Also, know how to use your 4WD. Again, sounds obvious but if you’re new to 4WDing, it’s a good idea to do a course or have someone teach you how to properly drive your 4WD.

More detailed info: How to 4WD for Beginners

 

Safety Tips

Always go with another 4WD. This is in case you get bogged and need to be winched out. It happens to even 4WD pros, so don’t think you’re immune because you’re doing an easy track

Keep a pair of Maxtrax and a winch handy in the boot. A shovel is important too, as is a snatch strap. You can never be too cautious. A UHF radio is also wise so you can easily communicate with your mate in the other 4WD, or in case you need assistance and there’s no phone reception

A tyre deflator/inflator is also recommended, depending on the track you’re doing. It’s a good piece of equipment to have in general if you plan to do a lot of off-roading

4WDing isn’t typically safe in wet weather, especially if you’re a beginner. If it’s been raining the day prior or the weatherperson says there will be rain, give it a miss

Read more: What Should You Carry In Your 4WD Rescue & Repair Kit?

 

Easy 4WD Tracks Near Sydney

1. Discovery Trail: Kurrajong

Location: Kurrajong
Distance: 81 km (round trip – about 2 hours)
Entry fee: Free
Distance from Sydney: 97km north west (1 hour and 45 minutes)

 

 

This beginner 4WD track in Sydney is a gorgeous scenic bushland trip starting and finishing in Kurrajong. The start of the trail begins on Burralow Road and leads you down into Burralow campground and picnic area.

The trail itself traverses through the Blue Mountains National Park and Wollemi National Park. There’s a good mixture of narrow sealed and unsealed roads, highways, and 4WD trails. As you drive along, you’ll pass Mountain Lagoon, or you can go around the lagoon via Sam’s Way and onto the T3 for an amazing viewpoint overlooking the Colo River gorge and Wollemi Wilderness.

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2. The Barrington Trail

Location: Barrington Tops National Park
Distance: 15km
Distance from Sydney: 262km (3 hours and 15 minutes)
Entry fees: Free

Please note! Due to flood damage, The Barrington Trail is only accessible from Scone (the west end). Check NPWS site for updates.

 

 

The Barrington Trail is the ideal 4WD track for beginners and is definitely one to get amongst. It’s one of the most iconic 4WD tracks in Barrington Tops National Park, taking you from the lower Barringtons up to the Tomalla road intersection.

Fun fact! The Barrington Trail has some of the oldest trees in Australia, while the Barrington Tops National Park itself forms part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia’s World Heritage Area. Mountain bikes often traverse this track too – so make sure you keep an eye out for your fellow riders.

4WD only accessible camping spots in the park include Gummi Falls, Junction Pools, and Little Murray Swamp if you want to turn your run into an overnighter.

Please note! The Barrington Trail is closed from 1 June to 30 September every year and may have to close at other times due to wet weather.

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3. Stockton Beach

Location: Newcastle – Nelson Bay
Distance: 19km
Distance from Sydney: 183km north (2 hours and 15 minutes)
Entry fees: Beach permit starting from $33 for 3 days (buy permits here)

 

 

Ah, Stockton Beach. Ask any 4WD owner and they’ll probably tell you they simultaneously love and hate it. Love it because it’s a heck of a good time. Hate it because it can get insanely busy on the weekends and is often over-run with reckless drivers.

However, if you can manage to sneak away mid-week, you’ll fall in love with the Stockton Sand Dunes. Situated on Worimi Conservation Lands, the park gives you access to over 19km of beach to drive and over 350 hectares of dunes. It’s one of the largest coastal dunes driving areas in NSW. You can drive on either the beach itself or have a go on the dunes – but for beginners, sticking to the beach might be your best bet as it’s easier to drive on hard sand than the soft dune sand.

As a beginner 4WDer, definitely go with a mate and take some Maxtrax (and a shovel) with you. Also for the love of all things 4WD, deflate your tyres before driving on sand and take it slow.

You can enter the park via Lavis Lane at Williamtown or via Gan Gan Road at Anna Bay.

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4. Gibraltar Rocks

Location: Northern Kanangra Boyd National Park
Distance: 10-30km
Distance from Sydney: 167km west (3 hours)
Entry fees: Free

 

 

The Blue Mountains is a haven for 4WD beginners and Gibraltar Rocks is certainly a good one for newbies. Situated in northern Kanangra Boyd National Park, access to Gibraltar Rocks comes off Jenolan Caves Rd to Mini Mini Range Road. There’s minimal service out there so load up maps before you go.

This track can get pretty boggy with lots of large muddy holes, so make sure you have all your recovery gear and you drop your tyre pressure before you go. The track will lead you to a four-way intersection, which is where you’ll keep going straight.

It’s all uphill until you reach the top of the trail, which you follow until you reach Gibraltar Rocks lookout. The scenery is stunning, so don’t forget to stop, rest, and admire the view before you head back.

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5. The Bridle Track

Location: Hill End and Bathurst
Distance: 52km
Distance from Sydney: 222km (3 hours to start point near Bathurst)
Entry fees: Free

 

Bridle Track 4WD, Tim Ashelford, Bathurst to Hill End, NSW, river crossing

Root Hog Road river crossing

 

The Bridle Track is a historic 4WD route that runs from Bathurst to the gold rush town of Hill End.

The track was originally named because some parts were so narrow against the cliffline that miners had to guide their horse by the bridle. Nowadays it’s a bit safer, but you can still expect steep descents and climbs, big dropoffs and a bit of narrow passing – take it easy!

In the late 1800s Hill End itself was home to 8,000 people (and 28 pubs!) and the largest gold specimen in the world, the Hotermann Nugget, was found there in 1872. Nowadays it’s a historic town, but there’s still accomodation, a national parks campground, and a pub.

If you want to make a weekend of it, there are a bunch of campsites along the Macquarie River and Turon River, all free with basic drop toilets. There’s also some more challenging 4WDing around, including a the decent Root Hog Road river crossing, but make sure you don’t try anything hairy by yourself or without the proper recovery gear.

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​The Best National Parks for 4WD Beginner Tracks

Ask most 4WD owners about the best places to test out your rig as a newbie to the off-road world and they’ll say Belanglo State Forest (and they’ll probably throw in an Ivan Milat joke), Watagans National Park, and Yengo National Park. There’s a range of different tracks to tackle depending on your experience level.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

 

 

My best advice if you’re an off-roading beginner is to join a group or club. It’s the safest way to start out and the most fun! There are groups out there specific to your 4WD make, and there are also groups like Yeah the Girls 4×4, which caters exclusively to female 4WD drivers and runs all kinds of regular 4WD trips across the country – all super fun (and free).

Beginner 4WD Tracks NSW

Can I go 4WDing in NSW?

Yes! There are plenty of 4WD tracks scattered across NSW, from off-road driving in the Outback, to muddy trails through forests, and even some beach driving (on specific beaches only).

Can you 4WD at Royal National Park?

No, there are no 4WD tracks in Sydney’s Royal National Park.

What’s the hardest 4WD track in Australia?

This certainly depends on who you ask. Some 4WD tracks are difficult simply because of the remoteness, like the Simpson Desert crossing, while others are incredibly technical and steep, like The Old Telegraph Track in Far North Queensland.

Easy 4WD Tracks Sydney

So there you have it, some of the best 4WD tracks for beginners that are close to Sydney. Grab your keys, get out there, and get muddy!

 

Feature photo by @tim_ashelford

We’ve shared these recommendations because we genuinely rate them and want you to enjoy them too. Our writers use a mix of personal experience and research to compile these lists, and they’re also encouraged to be honest when things aren’t up to scratch. For more information on our approach, check out our Editorial Standards.